Ex-Criminal Court’C’ Judge Gbeisay defends against US Treasury’s Report
One of several judges that handled Senator Varney Sherman’s bribery case before the US Treasury Department accused them (judges) of receiving a bribe from Sherman to rule in his favor, on Tuesday, March 16, surfaced at the Civil Law Court where he provided clarity on his judgment.
Even though the Treasury’s report did not mention his name or the role he may have played, Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay, during the formal opening of the sixth Judicial Circuit Court, Civil Law Court for Montserrado County, disclosed that he was one of the judges that found Sherman not guilty.
It can be recalled that on December 9, 2020, the United States Treasury Department in a statement captioned “Treasury Sanctions Corrupt Actors in Africa and Asia” placed the Global Magnitsky Designation on several individuals in some countries including Liberia.
In the statement, the Treasury Department declared that Counselor Varney Sherman, a prominent lawyer and Senator of Grand Capemount County and chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee, was named as one person who bribed judges to rule in his favor.
The report further claimed that Sherman offered bribes to multiple judges associated with his trial in the 2010 bribery scheme and had an undisclosed conflict of interest with the judge who ultimately returned a not guilty verdict in his favor in 2019.
The statement said Cllr Sherman had routinely paid judges to decide cases in his favor and that his acts of bribery demonstrated a larger pattern of behavior to exercise influence over the Liberian Judiciary and the Ministry of Justice.
However, addressing his audience that by large comprised judges and lawyers, Gbeisay said he has been wishing to seize any occasions to clear his innocence.
“Having cleared my chest, let me remind all lawyers that, a wise man changes only when he realizes that he is doing the wrong.”
Gbeisay referenced a report in the New Democrat Newspaper where it said, “Label some Judges as corrupt,” mentioning his name as the judge the report was talking about.
“This paper has not been able to conduct proper investigation as to which Judge is corrupt, but links to me the Sable Mining Case, which I partly handled barely (9) months following my appointment as a judge to be one of the corrupt judges because I simply insisted on two principles of Law,” Gbeisay noted.
Gbeisay named: Can Nieklerk as one the principles.
He explained that Hans Van Niekierk swore affidavit from South Africa alleging that he bribed the principal defendant in the case and he should be made to appear in person or through a live podcast so that the defense lawyers will have an opportunity to cross-examine him.
Gbeisay said, his reliance was (Article 21 H) of the current Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, which requires an accused to confront his accuser in a court of law.
“I also insisted then that under the Hague Convention, which both South Africa and Liberia are signatories to, for a document from either nation to be admitted into evidence in a court of competent jurisdiction, such document must be signed by the Secretary of State of the country the document originated from,” Gbeisay emphasized.
So, Gbeisay explained that the court under his gavel rejected the admission of the affidavit from South Africa, which did not meet the above requirement.
However, Gbeisay said the prosecution filed a petition for Certiorari and by the time the Supreme Court returned the case to the lower court, “My assigned term was over. Though the Supreme Court overruled my decision, I still stand by my position today.”
Gbeisay believes that it was a matter of how he understood the law and has nothing to do with bribery, “Yet the New Democrat Newspaper insinuated that Judge Gbeisay is one of the Corrupt Judges reference by the US treasury Department Report.”
Interestingly, Gbeisay further defended his judgment by saying that the United States of America is a signatory to the Hague convention and has for the purpose of complying with the convention open offices in most of the states and constituted authority to sign legal document emanating from the US to other jurisdiction around the world.